Mindful Design: Accessibility for Mental Health
Apparently, you can download inner peace. There are countless applications that can put meditation in the palm of your hand, and allow a guru to live in your pocket. How is the technology that is supposed to balance us throwing the rest of our life into imbalance?
Enter mindfulness. A tenet of Eastern philosophies for centuries, now it’s a comprehensive inclusion in the therapeutic arsenals of therapist’s, psychologist’s, and psychiatrist’s toolkits.
Using mindfulness allows for awareness of the present moment through attention and non-judgement. But now, mindfulness can be used as an accommodation. This talk will show how people with disabilities fuse with technology and vice versa. This can be done as a great boon for a person’s mental health and wellness. Mindfulness is essentially vigilance before acting. It prevents against impulsive actions, and is a discipline of thought. It’s like taking that extra step before you buy junk food at grocery store while you’re hungry and asking, do I need this? But being mindful in technology design means a focus on the design that works for the person in the moment. Our presentation will focus on how accessible design can accommodate mental health disabilities. Instead of impulsively choosing accommodating or try to fit a square peg in a round hole, it’s changing a way of thought. This presentation will be focused around user empowerment, but also be a call to action for developers. Through case studies that we will present with actual data and use feedback, we’ll argue that being aware is crucial for technology, especially accessibility.
About Sharon Rosenblatt
Sharon Rosenblatt is an accessibility professional working to improve the overall experience by a user with disabilities. She has been a part of the Accessibility Partners team for the over eight years, and specializes in document remediation and web compliance testing. Her efforts have enabled developers and manufacturers to see the tremendous potential that accessibility has not just for users with disabilities, but of all abilities.
She is a strong advocate for abolishing the stigma of mental health and researching accomodations in the workplace to support a mental health diagnosis. With her enthusiasm highlighted in several publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fast Company, Information Week, CNN, Mint.com, and more, Sharon enjoys participating in the constant dialogue between accessibility and innovation.